Harry ends one quest, so he can start life
"Harry!" Dumbledore was surprised, as he had had no warning of Harry and his group approaching. "Where have you been?"
"In the Room of Requirement, more or less," Harry answered. With a mere flip of his wand, three messanger spells flew off. With another, a large loveseat and three chairs appeared, one chair behind and to the right of the love seat, the other two off to the left. Harry sat Neville behind him to his right, the Weasleys to his left. He sat in the center of the loveseat, with Luna on his left, Hermione to his right.
The Headmaster was speechless at the control and talent displayed. "May I ask whom you called?" he finally asked.
"Sirius, Remus, and Professor McGonagall. I understand they were all here earlier."
The Headmaster nodded and sent off a message of his own. Seeing the unasked question, Dumbledore said, "For Professor Snape."
"This meeting is in your office, but it is my meeting," Harry replied. "Professor Snape is unwanted and unneeded. I believe he may be tied up in any case, but if he does enter, I will be leaving the country, leaving you to deal with Tom Riddle."
"Professor Snape. . . ."
". . . . is a bigoted prick, who wanted my father and me killed so he could stop stalking my mother and enslave her instead. I do realize that he is more loyal to you than to Voldemort, but never think that his loyalty is unconditional."
The Headmaster frowned, but settled upon looking at Hermione.
Hermione shrugged, and said, "I follow Harry first." She would have loved to have scolded Harry for language, but realized that in this situation, lost as she partially was, she needed to back Harry unconditionally, at least for the moment.
"I back Harry exclusively," Luna added.
"So do I," Neville chimed in.
Confused, Dumbledore looked at the Weasleys, who both flushed and looked at the floor.
"They're deciding," Harry said simply. "Having Snape here to belittle us as usual will not enhance your standing as a leader to any of us."
"May I ask how you knew Sirius was here? For all you should have known, he may have been detained by the Ministry!"
"I've given up relying on you for adequate information." That made Dumbledore wince, but he took the chance to look Harry in the eye. Dumbledore was surprised he could not establish contact with Harry, but rather than question why he tried to engage Hermione with direct eye contact.
"Harry warned us not to allow you to use Legilimency on us," Hermione pointed out as she quickly looked away, making Dumbledore wince again. The others had already averted their eyes.
"Have you ever seen Muggle motion pictures?" Harry asked, drawing the attention back to himself.
"A few," Dumbledore allowed.
"How about The Wizard of Oz?"
"Oddly enough, yes." Dumbledore paused in thought. "Are you suggesting you have pulled back the curtain; that I am a fraud?"
"Yes and no," Harry replied. "You are not a nearly-outright fraud by any means, but you have operated behind a reputation for power and eccentricity, and your little twinkle."
At that point, Sirius and Remus entered Dumbledore's office. Remus stopped at the door, already sensing the conflicts. Sirius, of course, did not notice. "Harry! Are you alright? Where did you go? How did you deal with Voldemort like that? and more importantly, are you really the one who strung Snivellus up like that? Minnie is still trying to get him down."
Harry shrugged. "I said he was tied up." Harry glared at Dumbledore. "Would you care to tell me the Prophecy?"
Dumbledore looked uncertain.
Harry turned to Sirius. "I know that someone overheard the first part of the prophecy, and immediately went running off to Voldemort with it. Care to guess who the sneaking, greasy bastard was?"
"Must have been Snape, the prick!" Sirius exclaimed. The others, looking at Dumbledore, saw that Harry somehow was correct.
"Now, let me tell some of you a story. The 'adults' can confirm this, I believe. Snape was a childhood friend of my mother's. The reason why Snape tried to hide that memory from me was not because my father humiliated him for no good reason but because he called my mother a Mudblood."
"She hardly talked to him for nearly a year," Remus agreed.
Harry turned his glare back to Dumbledore. "He wanted my mother. He stalked her. In the end, he tried to save her at the cost of my father and my lives. That's why Voldemort offered to not kill her."
"Harry. . . ." Dumbledore almost pleaded.
"Despite that, I can believe he's more loyal to you than to Voldemort, so I didn't kill him. Still, he just pulled a wand on me. The next person who does that will suffer a lot more than being tied up and hung upside down in a corridor. If Snape does it again, I'll kill him. As I reminded him, he is Marked."
Dumbledore looked as if he had gotten a particularly sour lemon sweet.
Harry stood and slightly leaned over the Headmaster's desk, as if trying to intimidate him. "Tell me, what gave you the right to imprison me at the Dursleys?"
"The blood wards. . . ."
"That's not what I asked!" Harry snapped angrily, surprising everyone but Remus and Luna. "I know why you claim you did it. I asked what gave you the right to do it!"
"If I hadn't, you probably would have gone to the Longbottoms. I warned Frank they could still be in danger, but he insisted they were coming out of hiding. Need I remind you what happened to them?" Neville managed not to cringe. "If you had somehow survived the attack on the Longbottoms, there would have been massive political infighting to gain control of you. You would have likely been raised by the Malfoys or someone similar -- if you lived long enough to be raised."
"And when you learned I was abused, beaten, half-starved, neglected -- why didn't you do something then? You must have interfered; the Muggle authorities are on the lookout for child neglect." Harry's tone was still as angry as he had ever been that year.
"If I had tried, the Ministry would have been notified. The infighting would have started then. I could not interfere, I cannot interfere with their treatment of you there. The wards. . . ."
"The wards are now irrelevant," Harry shouted. He almost snarled, "Sirius is free now, right?"
Dumbledore slowly nodded.
"Then he is my legal guardian for the next thirteen months or so." Dumbledore started to speak, but Harry cut him off. "Shall we move on then? Why send Hagrid to frighten the Dursleys then? Why not send Professor McGonagall, who usually guides the Muggleborn? Admit it! It was just so that I would have my first clue about the Philosopher's Stone! That entire first year was a set-up, wasn't it?"
Harry was nearly screaming. Remus restrained Sirius, while Luna warned the Weasleys off with a glare. Hermione looked both upset and thoughtful.
"Harry, you need to. . . ."
"I need to what? I need to fight another avatar of Tom Riddle? I need to fight a bloody basilisk? I need. . . ."
"Harry, please," Dumbledore begged. "I don't want to. . . ."
"You don't want to what, old man?" Harry demanded, screaming in rage and disrespect. Neville and the Weasleys' eyes were bugging out, and Hermione was crying. "You don't control me anymore! You can't control me, any more than you could control Tom Riddle! You created him, and you're trying to turn me just as Dark! I won't allow it!"
"Harry!" 'Is the boy possessed? If not by Tom then by something he met in the Department of Mysteries?' Dumbledore wondered. As Harry continued to scream at him, Dumbledore decided he had no choice. He slowly pulled out his wand.
Harry lunged and grabbed Dumbledore's wand, and then leapt back. Dumbledore was so surprised by the action, and the implications, that he merely sat in shock, stunned by the sudden turn of events.
"Your throat will be sore for a while," Luna pointed out calmly. "I know a good soothing charm, if I may?"
Harry smiled and nodded, and Luna cast the charm on his throat.
"Thank you," Harry said calmly. "Sorry about the performance, but I needed the third of the so-called 'Deathly Hallows'."
"Oh, Harry!" Luna exclaimed happily, clapping her hands together. Dumbledore was even more shocked.
"Luna can tell you part of the story later, or the Headmaster can tell you the entire story. I learned lots of things last night besides that story. I learned part of my own story, to a point. More importantly, I learned Tom Riddle's story. I learned how similar his background was to mine." He glared at Dumbledore. "I am still not convinced you didn't plan some kind of bizarre experiment, making me suffer so that when I didn't turn dark, you could absolve yourself for letting Riddle turn into Voldemort."
Seeing the Headmaster still couldn't, or at least wouldn't, answer, Harry went on, "Voldemort wanted immortality, or what passes for it. Somehow, he learned to divide his soul and store those pieces in what some cultures called. . . ."
"Harry!" Dumbledore tried to object, but Harry just kept going.
". . . soul jars, or what some call Horcruxes. These multiple Horcruxes kept him from really dying when the Killing Curse was reflected back at him. Some of us handled the first Horcrux."
"The diary," Ginny whimpered.
Harry nodded. "He made six in total. One was a cup owned by Hufflepuff. Another two were a ring used by the Slytherin family and a locket." Harry pulled the last two from his pocket. He slipped on the ring, and Dumbledore's eyes buldged as he realized that it was the resurrection stone. The irony of Tom Riddle having access to a magical power source he could have used to bring his spirit back more effectively than the philosopher's stone or the ritual he had used slipped past Dumbledore almost unnoticed.
Hermione frowned. "What? Wasn't that locket. . . ."
Harry nodded and handed it to Sirius. "Your brother stole that, when he tried to break away from Voldemort. The effort killed him." Sirius was stunned by that revelation.
"I made a deal with the goblins this morning, which let me break the Horcrux inside Hufflepuff's cup, although not the cup itself. That is still in a Gringotts vault. As for the Ravenclaw Horcrux." Harry pulled out Ravenclaw's diadem and handed it to Luna. She clutched it to her chest, for once totally amazed. Harry then pointed to his scar. "This was one as well. When Voldemort hit me with the Killing Curse a second time, it broke his Horcrux instead of killing me."
"But that would mean. . . ."
Harry nodded at Hermione. "The next time a Killing Curse hits me, I will be killed."
"You mean you allowed You-Know-Who. . . ." Ron couldn't complete the sentence.
"Harry, you've got boulders for balls," Neville said, awed.
"Really?" Luna asked, interested.
"Metaphor," Hermione hissed. Luna pouted.
"That left one more Horcrux," Harry said. "The idiot made his familiar a Horcrux."
"Why does that make him an idiot?" Ginny asked.
"Because he bound part of his soul to a living thing," Harry answered. "It couldn't last forever. Nagini wasn't even a magical snake. Anyway, when I killed the snake a few hours ago, Voldemort became fully mortal. He's an immensely powerful, dangerous dark wizard, course. . . ."
"More powerful than I," Dumbledore admitted.
"Of course he is; just as I am, although you've tried to downplay that, too. Still, he is mortal. I think I fulfilled the Prophesy in 1981. If not, I have fulfilled it today. Voldemort is gone and Tom Riddle is mortal. If he had been at the same place as his bloody snake, I would have killed him, but he wasn't. I suggest you and the Ministry and the International track him down before he causes more mischief."
"What? Why?" Dumbledore did not like the sound of that.
Harry turned around. "You've shown this past year that you are determined to stumble along in the same incompetent way you have for the last forty years. I see no reason to blindfold myself and follow you in the dark. I'm leaving Britain. Who's coming with me?"
"I am," Sirius said instantly.
"We are," Remus agreed.
Dumbledore broke in. "The rest of you are too young. As for you, Harry. . . ."
"I took my O.W.L.s and cannot be compelled to stay by any means," Harry retorted. "Dobby!"
Pop! "Master Harry, sir?"
"Are all my things packed and ready?"
"Yes, Master Harry, sir!"
Harry simply walked out of Dumbledore's office. After a moment, Sirius, Remus, and Luna followed him, with Hermione close behind. The others rushed after them, with Dumbledore bringing up the rear.
The entrance hall was crowded, as McGonagall and Flitwick were still trying to release Snape, while many students jeered and the Inquisitorial Squad tried to keep them away from their Head of House. Some of the Squad noticed Harry, and Draco, Crabbe, and Nott tried to block his way, not seeing the people coming up behind Harry.
"Scarhead, you bastard! What have you. . . ." Draco disappeared with a slight 'pop', replaced by an ermine. Only Luna and Hermione caught Harry sending a second hex into the squealing animal.
Harry continued to the great doors, where he gathered everyone's attention with a loud explosion.
"Before I go," he said with a magically amplified voice, "let me tell you all a set of true stories."
Harry proceeded to tell them the story of Tom Riddle and how he became Lord Voldemort, including his use of Horcruxes. He told of destroying the Horcruxes, and that should Voldemort try and make another, he would either fail or would so split his soul that he would be unable to animate his reconstructed body. Finally, Harry also told the students about the Prophesy and the events of the day and night before.
"He is still dangerous," Harry concluded, "but so far as I'm concerned, I have done my job. What happens next is up to you." Here, for the first time, Harry let them know how angry he was. "Almost all of you refused to believe in me! Harassed me, and some even persecuted me when you haven't used me! Many of you are to some degree pure-blood bigots, even if you don't realize it! I don't blame all of you for the last part -- you were likely raised that way. However, while I don't blame you for doubting me, I do blame some of you for how far you took it."
Harry glared over at Snape, who was still swinging upside down. "I also realize that some of you were even encouraged by the staff. Still, I see no reason to stick around. A child, or even a teen, should not be called on to do the work of entire governments." Harry abruptly turned and again walked away, ignoring the shouts from dozens of students who were following and the pleadings from his friends and Dumbledore.
Harry stopped at the entrance to Hogwarts' grounds. Sirius and Remus stepped across the wards, while Harry hugged Neville and the Weasleys goodbye, and then hugged Luna and Hermione in turn, kissing their cheeks and whispering in their ears. Harry then looked at Dumbledore. "Snape and Malfoy will both be released either when the spells wear off, which in Malfoy's case should be in about a year, or when the trigger is applied. Since you've spent the last five years or more protecting their arses, all you have to do is kiss their arses to release the spell."
Harry glanced around him, and then stooped, wiped off the bottom of his trainers with his hands, and then picked up a little dust from the ground. "Hogwarts really should be a great school, but while I have seen some good people, overall, I find little honor and no peace here." And with that, Harry dropped the dust and wiped his hands of it, kicked the dirt from the bottom of his trainers, and then turned his back on Hogwarts, crossed the wards, and disappeared, along with Sirius and Remus.
Tears falling down her cheeks, Luna quoted, ". . . whenever you enter a town and they do not make you welcome, go out into its streets and say, 'We wipe off the very dust of your town that clings to our feet, and leave it with you. . . .'"
Dumbledore frowned. "I don't understand."
Colin Creevy walked up to the headmaster and quoted in turn, ". . . and I say to you, that . . . Sodom in that day it shall be more tolerable."
Hermione's face lit up in understanding. "And thou . . . unto the heaven wast exalted, unto hades thou shalt be brought down." With that, they, and the other student moved off towards the back grounds of the school, as none wanted to enter it at the moment.
"I don't understand," Dumbledore bleated again.
Justin Finch-Fletchley, at the back of the crowd, turned and said, "It was either Mark or Luke. I believe it was Luke, around Chapter Ten." And then he continued on his way.
It took nearly six weeks to track Voldemort and bring him to battle. The final battle was bloody, but in the end nearly all his Death Eaters were as dead as Voldemort himself.
The casualties were nearly as high on the other side. Dumbledore survived his injuries, but only for a little over three years. He was not surprised that neither Hermione Granger nor Luna Lovegood returned for their respective final two years at Hogwarts, any more than he was surprised to learn that Harry and Sirius had moved their wealth out of the country before the end of that summer of 1995.
Dumbledore did not even notice Tonks quitting the Aurors after the battle and disappearing soon there after. Neville Longbottom also left the country after his Seventh year. The Weasley twins had started their business in the Caribbean, aided by several of their friends. Ron Weasley left after playing one season as a reserve keeper for the Cannons, and Ginny left with him. Although the various Weasleys were often seen in the Americas, they never gave a clue as to where Harry or the others might have gone to.
Dumbledore would have been saddened to know that no children or even grandchildren of any of those who left would ever attend Hogwarts. He would have been surprised, although he shouldn't have been, to learn that Harry had given Draco a magical vasectomy as a farewell gift, and that the main branch of the Malfoy family therefore died out, but that was not discovered until a few years after his own death.
As for the entity in the locked room in the Department of Mysteries, it was well-satisfied with the short-term havoc it had caused, although it wouldn't have minded a bit more long-term chaos.
'Maybe,' it thought, 'I can do better next time.'